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How to play the E7 chord on guitar

Unlock the secrets of blues and rock classics like "Twist and Shout" and "Proud Mary."

The E7 chord

The E7 chord, pronounced "E dominant seventh," is a versatile and commonly used chord in various musical genres. It adds a bluesy, slightly dissonant flavor to the standard E major chord. The E7 is often found in blues, rock, country, and jazz songs, and is notably used in classics like "Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard and "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash.

There are many ways to play a chord. Here's a diagram for the most common E7 chord. We've also included other versions below.

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Finger placement for E7 chord

The E7 chord is typically played as an open chord on the first fret of the guitar.

Follow these finger positions to play a E7 chord on your guitar:

  1. Place your index finger on the first fret of the third (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the second fret of the fifth (A) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the second fret of the fourth (D) string.

Strum the first six strings together to play the E7 chord, making sure to avoid playing the sixth (low E) string open.

How to play an easy E7 chord on guitar

If you're a beginner looking to play a simpler version of the E7 chord, try this open position chord instead:

  1. Place your index finger on the 1st fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the 5th (A) string.
  3. Leave the other strings open and strum all six strings.

How to play a E7 bar chord

The E7 barre chord is a handy alternative to the standard open E7 chord, especially when you need to quickly transition to other barre chords or play in a higher position on the fretboard.

Here's how to play a E7 barre chord:

  1. Place your index finger across all six strings at the 7th fret, creating a barre.
  2. Place your middle finger on the 8th fret of the 3rd (G) string.
  3. Place your ring finger on the 9th fret of the 5th (A) string.
  4. Place your pinky finger on the 9th fret of the 4th (D) string.
  5. Strum all six strings from low to high.

Common E7 chord progressions

The E7 chord is commonly used in blues, rock, and country music to add a dominant seventh flavor to progressions, creating a sense of tension and resolution. Some popular chord progressions featuring the E7 chord include:

  • I7-IV7-I7-V7-IV7-I7 (E7-A7-E7-B7-A7-E7): Used in "Johnny B. Goode" and "Roll Over Beethoven"
  • I7-IV7-V7 (E7-A7-B7): Used in "Hound Dog" and "Folsom Prison Blues"
  • I7-V7-IV7-V7 (E7-B7-A7-B7)
  • I7-IV7 (E7-A7)
  • I7-bVII7 (E7-D7)

Drills to master the E7 chord

Mastering the E7 Guitar Chord

To master the E7 chord, try playing the notes (E, G#, B, D) in different orders as arpeggios. Start slowly and focus on clean transitions between each note. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase your speed.

Another effective drill is to practice strumming the E7 chord in various rhythmic patterns. Experiment with different strum patterns, such as down-up-down-up or down-down-up-up-down, to develop your timing and coordination. Remember to keep your strumming hand relaxed and maintain a steady tempo throughout your practice session.

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Songs that feature the E7 chord

Here are 10 popular songs you can play with the E7 chord:

  1. Twist and Shout by The Beatles (D, G, A7, E7)
  2. Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets (E7, A7, B7, D7, G7)
  3. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison (G, C, D, E7, A7, D7)
  4. Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash (E7, A7)
  5. Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison (A, E7, D, E7)
  6. Shake, Rattle and Roll by Big Joe Turner (E7, A7)
  7. Everyday by Buddy Holly (D, A, E7, B7)
  8. Maybelline by Chuck Berry (E7, A7)
  9. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran (E7, A7, B7)
  10. Ain't That a Shame by Fats Domino (E7, A7, B7)

How a guitar teacher can help

If you feel stuck in your playing, it might help to take personalized guitar lessons with an expert guitarist. Taking lessons with a pro gives you access to the skills, feedback, and motivation to reach your goals.

You can find expert guitar teachers to support you in the journey. Thousands of people have turned to online guitar lessons on Til, instead of traditional in-person lessons, because Til gives you access to the best teachers in the world from the comfort of home. And with flexible scheduling, secure payments, lesson recordings, and a private chat with your teacher–there’s never been a better way to learn guitar.

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